Gabe Torres is a film director and former Co-Chair of the DGA Latino Committee. He grew up in Aurora, New York, a small village on Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. He started making films at age twelve when he discovered an old eight-millimeter camera in a neighbor's closet. Soon he was cranking out numerous Super 8 films filled with monsters, disasters and all kinds of mayhem. His early inspirations were visual effects-driven disaster movies and horror films. The films he made in high school mostly reflected these early influences and resulted in epic floods, fires and monster attacks. In the process, model ships and planes were destroyed while friends and family perished in a flurry of blood and gore. In his senior year, Torres made his first serious film. The visually poetic "A Short Distance" won numerous prizes at Super 8 festivals around the country and became the primary portfolio piece for his application to the USC Film School.
Torres was accepted to the USC Film School and moved to Los Angeles at age 18. USC was a rich time for Torres. A kid from a small town suddenly found himself exposed to and meeting such varied filmmakers as Orson Welles, Sam Peckinpah, Don Siegel, Sydney Pollack, Steven Spielberg and John Cassavetes. Among his classmates Torres found many other impassioned young filmmakers like himself, forming lifelong friendships that would result in collaborations that have spanned his career.
Upon graduating from USC, Torres wrote and directed the children's adventure film Legend of Firefly Marsh (1987), which premiered on the fledgling Disney Channel and established his writing and directing career. He wrote in network television for several years as a freelancer on one-hour series, but resisted taking a staff position for years, hoping to still write and direct films. It was the powerful WWII drama December (1991) that marked Torres's feature film debut as writer and director and immediately established him in the indie film world. Turning away from network television writing, Torres focused on writing and developing indie features while maintaining a career in children's television, directing such signature shows such as Land of the Lost (1991), Big Bad Beetleborgs (1996) and ARK, the Adventures of Animal Rescue Kids (1997).
With the series Arrest & Trial (2000) and Unsolved Mysteries (1987), Torres entered into the new territory of reenactments, quickly becoming one of the top directors of crime and large-scale historical reenactments. He has directed hundreds of stylish reenactments over the years in a wide range of genres. Many of those shows gave him the opportunity to shoot all over the world including Eastern Europe, North Africa and South America.
Even with the busy television career, films were still Torres's priority. He directed two widely different films during this time: the dark character study Bartender (1997) and the emotionally moving western Last Stand (2003), which reunited him with Jason London from his first feature film, "December". "Bartender" and "Last Stand" also established a career friendship with composer Brian Tyler, who later scored the intense thriller Brake (2012), which Torres produced and directed. "Brake" also partnered Torres with producer and friend Nathan West, whom Torres had directed as a young actor years earlier.